At some point in time, most people have contemplated the question “what should I do with my life?” While this most often happens in adolescence, the truth is it can happen at any stage of life. It is a sad irony that many young people do not actually contemplate this question until after they graduate college, at which time they are often saddled with several thousands of dollars of debt. The question of what to do with your life can also arise at major intersections in life, such as during a divorce, when children are leaving for college or you lose a job you held for many years. When the question of what to do with your life arises, travel can be one of the best ways to answer it. Here are three reasons that travel can help you find your purpose in life.
1. Exposes you to different cultural values
Most people are raised in a certain culture or environment that adheres to certain cultural norms. Without exposure to other types of cultural norms and values, we can come to believe this is simply “the way things are.” In truth, however, everyone marches at least to some degree to the beat of their own drum. This means that some of the values we are raised with will feel normal and natural to us and others will make us extremely uncomfortable. Trying to do things in a way that is not right for us can have a significant impact on our success. Travel can help open our eyes to the fact that there is more than one way to do everything. By traveling to a culture that does things very differently than how you were raised to believe they should be done, you can better find the right way for you to do things.
2. Helps you re-evaluate your priorities
If you grew up in a moderately wealthy family that lived in an extremely affluent community, you might have grown up thinking of yourself as poor. This idea that you are poor might even make you bitter with your lot in life or cause you to burn yourself out trying to improve your status. You might be bitter and miserable about certain health problems or conditions you experience until you travel to an area with little to no access to health care of any kind. Traveling can expose you to communities with problems that can help you value and cherish your life in a whole new way. This exposure may even lead you to rethink your priorities and re-examine your values. It may even lead you to change careers to work at something you find more fulfilling rather than something that simply brings you the biggest paycheck.
3. Helps you overcome fear
Fear guides far more of our lives than most of us are willing to admit. In many cases, we may be afraid to leave a job we hate because it has such good benefits or we are afraid we won’t find another. We may be afraid to do what we are most passionate about because it might mean a loss of income or a loss of some of the luxuries we have become accustomed to. The truth is, however, that many people throughout the world live very happy lives with only a fraction of the comforts and conveniences we have come to believe are a necessity. Travel in and of itself requires us to step outside of our comfort zones into the complete unknown. That means that aside from what we find when we travel, just traveling alone is the first step to overcoming the fear that binds us.
Author Bio: Douglas Pitassi is a digital nomad and freelance writer.